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Black round rock faces escape from months of imprisonment below the ice and snow. Heat radiates back from the smooth rock “mountain” that provides the backdrop for the tiny village of Coppermine which is located on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Small hands escape from mittens and crowd together on the warm dry surface of the rock, giggles escape from childish lips. Into winter weary palms the heat from the black stone creeps.

The warmth carries with it memories of days without itigies (parkies), kamiks (shoes) and endless sunshine. We all look at each other and smile; our eyes are shining, its s-o-o good to feel the heat with our little hands. There is energy from the northern spring sun that I have felt nowhere else in the world. It invigorates and warms past the surface cover of lardy white skin, or the smooth pale ivory surface of the Inuk. Sun pours life back into limbs and lightens minds that had gone into dark winter hiding places.

Over night the solid cliffs and banks of packed snow melt and trickle toward the ocean. Streams begin to run with the tinkle of tiny bells through the rotten candle ice. An indent in any surface becomes a pond, and then a lake. We have a big indent behind our house; first we had the pond, now we have a lake in our back yard. The dog run is high enough up the slope that our dog team have mud up to their bellies but don’t have to swim. They jump hard at the end of their chains wanting to escape and be wild.

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